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Ashaiman military raid: Defence Committee apologises

The Defence Committee of Parliament has apologised to residents of Ashaiman for the military excesses meted out to them last Tuesday.

“We all have to admit that as human beings, there were excesses and, therefore, we sympathise with the people of Ashaiman,” the committee said.

Addressing journalists in Parliament yesterday, the Chairman of the Defence Committee, Kennedy Agyapong, said: “We have condemned the unfortunate incident that happened and the Defence Minister has also apologised on behalf of the military that indeed there were excesses.”

Mr Agyapong rendered the apology after the members of the Defence Committee had engaged the Defence Minister, Dominic Nitiwul, and the Military High Command in a closed-door meeting in Parliament yesterday.

The parties deliberated on military brutalities against residents of Ashaiman following the murder of a 21-year-old soldier in the area last Saturday.

Mr Agyapong said during the meeting, all the parties reached an agreement that the members of the Defence Committee, the Ministry of Defence and the military high command should pay a visit to Ashaiman next week Thursday to dialogue with the people of the area.

During the meeting, the chairman also said an apology was rendered to the National Democratic Congress (NDC) Member of Parliament (MP) for Ashaiman, Ernest Henry Norgbey.

“I do not wish to be in his shoes. Normally, he (Ashaiman MP) is very loud on the committee but today he is so worried.

“I have never seen him so down like this before which means that the incident has taken a toll on him,” he said.

Dousing passion
Mr Agyapong, who is also the MP for Assin Central, on behalf of the Defence Committee, expressed sympathy with the young soldier’s family, as well as those who were innocently beaten by the military personnel.

“Those victims were not part of it but unfortunately, they got to a scene where they were not supposed to be.

“Even, I heard of the victims were in their homes and the soldiers knocked and they came out and they beat them,” he said.

Further expressing sympathy with the Ghana Armed Forces how the young men took the law into their own hands to kill the young soldier, Mr Agyapong called for cool heads to prevail in order not to inflame passions.

“In a situation like this, all we can say is that we need peace and we as members of the Defence Committee cannot inflame passions by going there to make comments that will annoy the factions.

“We think that we are not to do that; our mission is to make sure that we have peace in this country.

He indicated that the members of the committee would not make any statement on the floor of the House until they had visited the scene in Ashaiman and paid homage to the affected victims and listened to their side of their story before “we come back and make a statement”.

Respect men in uniform
Mr Nitiwul, on behalf of the military high command, also rendered an apology to those who were affected by the military brutality.

Acknowledging that while such regrettable incidents could be recurring, he appealed to Ghanaians to respect people in uniforms.

“This will help all of us,” he stated.

On why the team will not visit the scene in Ashaiman sooner than Thursday, the Defence Minister said investigations were currently ongoing and “we do not want to compromise whatever the outcome of the investigations will be”.

source: graphiconline

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